DENR closes Zamboanga Del Sur beach home to nesting turtles
The island will be temporarily closed in order to protect the nesting green turtles in the areas
Nov 19, 2019
In order to ensure the protection of the green sea turtles in the area, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has temporarily closed down Panikian Island: a popular tourist site in Pitogo, Zamboanga Del Sur. Signages announcing the island’s closure have been installed while cleanup and vulnerability assessments were being conducted.
GOOD MOVE TO SAVE THE ENDANGERED! PANIKIAN ISLAND, TEMPORARILY CLOSED! Nagpahibalo ang buhatan sa Panikian Island…
Panikian Island is known for its turtle population, and has been attracting tourists who want to see green sea turtles roaming around or laying their eggs. Green sea turtles are classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and are protected by the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act.
The closure of the island was brought about by the need to protect its beaches from human activities, which has been disrupting the turtles’ nesting places. “Green turtles are facing various threats such as harvesting, habitat degradation, pollution in feeding and nesting areas, and [the impact of] climate change,” adds Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez, DENR Regional Director in Zamboanga Peninsula.
Hatchery watchers around the area also note that the closure offers an opportunity to review the island’s management practices. The surge of visitors has also resulted in an increase of trash littered on the beaches, which has been blocking the passageways of turtles laying eggs.
Aside from the temporary island closure, an agreement that protects the nesting sites of green sea turtles in the island, and the safe release of hatchlings with the Pitogo municipal government is also in the works.
Header image courtesy of Leah Agonoy of Inquirer.net
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